Caribbean Hurricane Network
- Updates from the Islands -
Archive of weather discussions and eye witness reports from the Caribbean Islands in the 2004 Atlantic Hurricane Season so far. Featured on this page: Alex, Bonnie, Charley, Danielle, Earl, Frances, Gaston, Hermine and part of Ivan. For current events go to the homepage.
|- - - Ivan - - -|
More recent updates on Ivan are on the homepage
Tue, 7 Sep 2004 18:12:02 GMT - Information Note #9 - Hurricane Ivan impacts the Windwards
ISSUED BY: Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency DATE: September 7, 2004 TIME: 11:00 am This is not an official weather advisory for any state ****************************************************** Extract from Advisory # 21 on Hurricane Ivan from the National Hurricane Center: AT 11 AM AST POSITION...11.8 N... 60.2 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 18 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...115 MPH MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 963 MB. A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR TRINIDAD...TOBAGO...ST. VINCENT...THE GRENADINES...AND GRENADA AND ITS DEPENDENCIES. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR BARBADOS...MARTINIQUE... AND ST. LUCIA. AT 11 AM AST...1500Z...THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NETHERLANDS ANTILLES HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR BONAIRE...CURACAO AND ARUBA. ********************************************** COUNTRY REPORTS Barbados - System Passing over Barbados. There is island an wide power outage except for the major health care facility, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. There are also reports of roof loss, down utility poles and trees. Telephone service is still available. There are reports of coastal damage associated with storm surge. Saint Vincent and Grenadines - The National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) is activated. The Island is experiencing gusty winds at this time, especially in the east. Shelters are opened. Grenada - The NEOC is activated and shelters are opened island wide. More than 1000 persons were reported in shelters as of 0700 hrs this morning. The Prime Minister addressed the nation early this morning urging the population to follow the instructions of the emergency services. Trinidad and Tobago - Tobago reports rain and feeling some effects of the system. Saint Lucia - Already experiencing tropical storm conditions in the south of the island. CDERA Is maintaining contact with the Threatened States and our supporting partners. Arrangements are in place for aerial reconnaissance to determine priority needs. Multilateral and bi-lateral partners have reaffirmed their commitments for a regional response if required. The HMS Richmond is steaming towards Grenada and is expected to be in that vicinity at first light and will be available to support national and regional operations tomorrow.
September 7, 1AM EDT - Grenada?
Ivan amazes us all... I thought that it would go more north then forecasted, but in fact it is going more south. As it stands right now the 11PM advisories indicate that the center of Ivan will stay about 90 miles south of Barbados (Closest Point of Approach (CPA) will be reached in the next 12 hours). Since tropical storm winds extend outward of the center to up to 160 miles Barbados will experience those for sure, but they might just stay out of reach of hurricane force winds (70 miles radius). So that is good news for Barbados.
That means however that it will cross the island chain somewhere else. Right not it looks like the center will pass even south of St.Vincent (CPA 61 miles in 18 hours), and just north of Grenada (CPA 25 miles in 19 hours). just north of Tobago (CPA 63 miles in 15 hours), but over the Grenadines (Canouan, Union, Palm Island, Petit St.Vincent)... It's hard to tell exactly where of course, and also, we shouldn't focus only on the eye of the hurricane. All islands under a hurricane watch (Barbados, St.Lucia, St.Vincent & Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago) should take Ivan very seriously and prepare accordingly...
At the time of landfall Ivan is expected to be a borderline Category 2, 3 Hurricane. It is actually very rare for these islands to experience such a storm (see the climatology section). For example, Grenada is ranked number 55, and Tobago as 56 out of 60 on my list of most hurricanes. Grenada has seen only 2 category three hurricanes in the last 150 years (Janet in 1955 and Flora in 1963). Tobago only one (Flora, 1963). St.Vincent had a big one (Cat-4) in 1980 (Allen) and just one category 3 (Janet, 1955). St.Lucia has seen Allen (Category 4) in 1980 and just one other category 3 in 1891. Since it has been so long ago for some or because it happens so seldom that a hurricane makes landfall it brings the danger that people are not going to be that well prepared. (Even the governments are slow to react). Hopefully in this age of the internet people can check things out for themselves and heed the warnings... Prepare, prepare, prepare!!!
Above find the reports from the hurricane correspondents on the islands. Also, use the tools above to calculate how close the storm can get to your island.
Mon, 6 Sep 2004 08:52:32 -0300 - Ivan
My prayers and thought's to all in Florida and beyond; plus those left behind in the Bahama's and the TCI. My wife Barbara and I have several relatives and friends in harms way in throughout Florida and it has been a busy afternoon trying to contact them, talk to them, and get a feel of what they are going through plus offer any help we can.
Closer to home, Hurricane Ivan is not to be disregarded by any island or government in the Eastern Caribbean as it has strengthened dramatically to Category 4 from a strong tropical storm in a short period of time and may even eventually reach the rarified Category 5 status. A record for such a southern tracking hurricane, Ivan is expected to cross close to the central islands of the Lesser Antilles including Barbados and Grenada (now under hurricane watches), St. Lucia, and even Martinique. For those of us in the Northeastern Antilles, this is a disconcerting feeling as we have seen several systems turn north faster than forecasted after visiting St. Lucia.
In straight up terminology, pay attention, listen, and take heed of your local EOC's (emergency operation center's) instructions.
Ivan is a strong and dangerous Category 4 hurricane with nothing in the next 72 hours to decrease his intensity. The path is still not totally clear: even though computer model guidance is in fairly strong agreement that it will emerge into the Central Caribbean and eventually affect the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahama's and maybe even Florida (again) in the long term.
Those of you from Guadaloupe on down to Grenada get ready for a potentially devastating hit from "Ivan The Terrible." Once again, this is not the alarmist attitude but the prudent one! Be safe and be prepared as best as you can and if you feel unsafe, get to a secure shelter, government or otherwise. This is not the time to feel "bullet-proof!" For those of us in the Northeastern Carribean, I don't think I have to offer any extra advice!
I still don't understand why local governments, especially "down-island", don't feel the need to at least alert their citizens to the possibility of a hurricane strike well in advance. We live in a communications era with cell phones, satellite phones, fax machines, text messaging, The Weather Channel, etc.... and unfortunately, communications locally stink! I'm not being rude but this is the truth! I understand it costs big bucks to issue watches, warnings, and even evacuations but if prompt notice is given by the affected authority and a single life is saved; yes, it is worth it!
If you feel your government isn't giving enough notice, which I gathered that most aren't, then send them e-mails, write letters, go there in person, contact someone in high authority, or even contact the local non-government controlled media and say "Hey, we need to know if a tropical situation is imminent or even a possibility." That way, it will be up to you, once notified, to take the appropriate action.
September 6, 3AM EDT - Barbados, St.Lucia
Another big storm: Ivan is now a category four hurricane, and might strengthen even more in the next 12 to 24 hours... As it looks right now Ivan might become the 'big one' for Barbados and St.Lucia...
The closest point of approach of Ivan's eye for Barbados is according to the 11PM advisories is pretty much right over it in 38 hours (1PM EDT Tuesday) with tropical storm winds preceding the storm by about 7 hours (6AM EDT Tuesday). For St.Lucia the center of the storm is expected in about 45 hours (tropical storm force winds 38 hours)...
The forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center over the last couple of days have been pretty consistent, meaning that they are pretty confident about their forecasted track. Also, the different weather models don't differ that much. Though it might go further north (Martinique, Dominica)...
Above you can find the reports by the special hurricane correspondents on the islands. Also, you can use the tools above how close the storm could pass by your island. I am afraid to say that somewher Ivan will cross the island chain as a Category Five hurricane...
Sun, 5 Sep 2004 00:40:42 -0300 - Frances and Ivan
First, I would like to thank all who supported my comments on my last posting. I was not bashing The Weather Channel by any means as I have followed them since their inception. I was relaying the feelings and comments of most Virgin Islanders and other Caribbean Islanders as well, since we seem to get by-passed as a footnote whenever a tropical system is approaching the Lesser Antilles. And even more so if there already is a tropical system close to the mainland first! They do a great service for the mainland but their Caribbean coverage lacks quite a bit. That's really nothing new with other companies if you've ever tried to order something online; our United States zip codes are usually turned back as "invalid!"
Slow moving Hurricane Frances is in the process of trying to completely fill the Florida Aquifer as she is forecasted to dump up to 18 inches of rain on many parts of the state. Fortunately, she is not the stalwart Category 4 hurricane she was just a few days ago. One good lesson to be learned from Frances though the concept of thorough preparation. Look at the Bahama's and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Yes, Frances did quite a bit of damage but for the most part, the citizens of those islands paid serious heed to the watches and warnings and prepared accordingly! It could have been much worse. Also. commendation should go to the respective governments as their strict enforcement of building codes and other regulations contained what could have been a catastrophic event. I only wish the rest of the Caribbean would take heed, especially here in the Virgin Islands. Apathy is still rampant which takes me to Ivan.
Once again, another storm is forecast to get close to the northern islands and once again, the "let's wait to the last minute and see" attitude has reared it's ugly head although I do know that a few more people than normal are really paying attention. See, Frances was a wake-up call for some! With 4-5 day forecasts often off by many miles though, it's easy to say a copious number of people are taking Ivan with a small pinch of salt. I myself still do not like this storm. I only hope that it does not become "Ivan the Terrible!"
Good luck Florida!!
Sat, 4 Sep 2004 02:25:33 -0400 (AST) - TS IVAN
Good early morning! Many islands and countries have their own very informational websites along with common people like us volunteer hurricane correspondents who try our best to bring you the "real deal" as far as to what is transpiring locally as opposed to the very brief mention most of the Caribbean Islands are given nationally; especially if it looks like a hurricane could affect the mainland down the road. It's too bad The Weather Channel and the other networks appear to treat the Caribbean Islands, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in particular, as just a speed bump. This is one of the biggest reason's why we are here for you! Not for just a specific place; we are here for ALL of the Caribbean! And even more. Tropical Storm Ivan is still 4-5 day's, at least, from the Leeward Island chain. Given past history, it's forecast track does not bode well. As I mentioned before, storms of the Cape Verdes seem to boggle the most experienced minds as far as long-ranged forecasting is concerned as they tend to not be the obedient child expected. I myself, am concerned with Ivan, not just because the weatherman part of me say's I should be, but because the experienced part and the inner feeling part say's I should be as well. It remains to be said that the populace of the Virgin Islands feels totally neglected, by The Weather Channel in particular, because as soon as a tropical disturbance threatens, the only focus is on "how long will it take to reach the mainland and what effect will it have there!" I understand why as the potential implications are much greater but, hey, we are part of the United States too! After all, geographically speaking, we are the UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS and should be respected as so with some mention; not just some tropical roadblock on the highway to the East Coast! This is nothing new by the way; it's been the feeling for many years. I myself had this feeling since 1996 and that's why I chose to be a volunteer for this website! And I thank everyone who participates, contribute's, comments, and maybe just views. Best wishes to all in the path of Frances and eventually Ivan! Dave
Fri, 3 Sep 2004 13:10:27 -0400 (AST) - Ivan
Good afternoon! First, our prayers and thought's are with everyone affected or soon to be affected by Hurricane Frances. Good luck to all! Since Frances has slowed down, the potential for torrential downpours and extreme flooding is very real and life-threatening so please heed your emergency management instructions. Remember, wind is usually not the cause of fatalities. Storm surge, the resultant flooding, and the fact that alot of us human's think we are bullet-proof is! Now, on to Ivan! If I have to make a long-term hypothesis or guess, I'd say the northern Leeward and Central Islands are in for a very rough time, this time next week. For those who remember Hurricane's Luis and Marilyn, the scenario is eerily similar. And that old axiom about history repeating itself, has proven over the years to be a truthful old axiom. Now, I'm actually speaking here specifically about the Virgin Islands. Hurricane Luis came "too close for comfort by", a sigh of relief was breathed, shutters were taken down, as well as people's guards. Hurricane Marilyn shows up on the scene less than two weeks later and trashes the place! Believe me, 3 months without electric, a year without a phone, and two years without TV is no fun in paradise although I could do without the tv aspect. (It made me read more and be more physically active!) Now we have Tropical Storm Ivan following Hurricane Frances footsteps like an angry suitor who was left behind at the altar! In addition, it's projected to stay far south for a long time before curling west-northwestward. Now, nobody likes to be wrong in their predictions but I, for one, would really like to be this time. More as time slides by! Dave
September 2, 5:30PM EDT - Number Nine
We are not getting any breaks... Tropical depression number Nine formed in the far Eastern Atlantic, another Cape Verde. Plenty of time though to see what it is going to do. More later, let's focus on Frances first.
|- - - Hermine - - -|
August 29, 8PM EDT - Hermine
And another (short lived) one... tropical storm Hermine formed off North Carolina coast. Since it doesn't threathen any of the Caribbean Islands it will not be covered here. Feel free of course to use the tools above. We are keeping an eye on Frances...
|- - - Gaston - - -|
August 28, 2:20AM EDT - Number Seven
Tropical depression number seven formed off the coast of South Carolina. Since it doesn't threathen any of the Caribbean Islands it will not be covered here. Feel free of course to use the tools above. We are keeping an eye on Frances...
|- - - Frances - - -|
September 2, 5:30PM EDT - Bad
The eye of Frances, a category four hurricane, just passed over San Salvador, Bahamas. This is not good. Above you can find reports by the special hurricane correspondents on the Bahamas and other islands. Islands ahead of Frances: Cat Island, Eleuthera, New Privdence (Nassau), Abaco, Grand Bahama... (see this map). Then Frances will slam into the east coast of Florida. You can use the tools above to calculate how close the eye of Frances can get to you (I also included some latitude and longitude coordinates for coastal cities in Florida). Be aware though that this is a very large and powerful storm. Don't focus on the exact path of the center. The area affected is much larger. Also, forecasts are not set in stone. Hurricanes can wobble a bit, and its forecasted path may be off by many miles.
The center of Frances passed very close to the Turks&Caicos islands (TCI). First reports from TCI indicated that they did pretty well. So at least a bit of good news.
Wed, 1 Sep 2004 14:18:59 -0300 - After Frances
A big sigh of relief for the northern Caribbean Islands as Hurricane Frances grazed us on her way to wreak havoc and destruction on the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and eventually the southeastern coast of the mainland US.
The US Virgin Islands have returned back to normal with all government and schools back in operation. Little damage was done with a few old limbs down, some wind driven rain in people's houses and some coastal erosion occurred. Nothing like it could have been!
I believe some of that apathy I was talking about in my last communique has been replaced by a new found awareness but there will still be those who don't believe until it's too late and then they'll blame someone else for their procrastination.
While we will keep a watchful and prayer filled eye on the Bahamas, the TCI and beyond, we here will also turn our attention to another tropical low which has exited the African coast several hours ago and is quite low like Frances was. One good thing about Frances was she forced many islands to "test-drive" their emergency procedures and raised people's awareness so they won't be as lackadaisial when next time comes. Hopefully!
Good luck to all in the path of Frances!
August 31, 5:30PM EDT - Quick update
Frances now a strong category 4 hurricane with 140mph sustained winds. The latest track forecast (5PM) show that the track has shifted slightly to the east. As it looks right now the center of the storm doesn't pass over Eleuthra, but Abaco. In any case, we shouldn't be focussing too much on the eye of the storm. This is a dangerous major hurricane, they don't always do what we think they will do... Turks & Caicos tomorrow, then the Bahamas. Be prepared!!! Above you can find reports by the special hurricane correspondents on the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and many more.
August 31, 12:15PM EDT - Not looking good
Frances stayed just far enough north from the NE islands, like Antigua, St.Maarten/St.Martin, Anguilla, etc to have an effect on them other then the heavy swell (see reports above). Currently the storm is north of Puerto Rico and it looks that the outer bands of the hurricane might not reach them either. That was a close call!
The story is different however further down Frances' path. In her way are the Turks & Caicos and the Bahamas. The closest point of approach (CPA) of the eye of Frances for the Grand Turk is about 68 miles in about 34 hours (based on the 11AM EDT advisories). The real bad news is that at that time it is expected to be an 'extreme' category four hurricane, with maximum sustained winds at that time are expected to be near 145mph, with gusts of 180 mph... Hurricane force winds at that time expand to up to 70 miles from the center, within reach of the TCI. So as it looks right now TCI won't get the eye with the strongest winds but it will be very close. Since forecasts are not set in stone, and hurricanes do sometimes 'wobble' a bit, it is still very well possible that the TCI will get a direct hit, so please, be prepared!!!
For the Bahamas it looks even more grim. The latest advisories show that Frances' center with the highest winds will go over the northern part of Eleuthra in about three days, then over the southern part of Abaco and onto Grand Bahama (see here for a nice map of the Bahamas and TCI). Frances will still be a category 4 storm then, with a similar windfield as when it passes by the Turks and Caicos...
In short, TCI be on the lookout, and just hope that its path doesn't deflect more to the west. Most islands of the Bahamas should be preparing for the worst... You can use the tools above to see how close it can get to your island and to view high resolution satellite imagery centered on your island.
---------------------------- Original Message ---------------------------- Subject: Close Call From: email@example.com Date: Tue, August 31, 2004 2:55 am -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good morning! Just reached home after having to be at TV2 since 4pm giving 1-hour updates plus the 7pm and 11pm news. It appears Hurricane Frances will actually track barely north of the northern Leeward Islands and just be a nuisance of sorts with some tropical storm force winds, heavy rain in spurts, high surf and some coastal and low-land flooding. For a while, I thought she might keep on her due west track and then there would be much more to deal with. What's fortunate for us is not so fortunate for those in the Turks and Caicos, the Bahama's and eventually Florida. Our prayers and thoughts go with you all. Here in the territory of the US Virgin Islands, people finally started to take notice early this morning. Gas lines were long in some cases, hardware stores were running out of tapcon's, Home Depot ran short of plywood, and bottled water was the fluid of choice (that doesn't happen very often!) Procrastination and apathy runs amok here as no-one believed it would even get this close! And then there are the "newbies" from other parts of the world who get all worked up and think an approaching hurricane is the next best thing since sliced bread and go overboard in their excitement without listening first or asking advice from those who've "been there; experienced there; survived there; done that". And yes, if you've been through a major hurricane and it's even worse aftermath, you would realize it's not the next best thing. Governor Turnbull has closed all public schools and non-essential government offices on Tuesday and the 4 cruise ships scheduled to visit have cancelled as well. A heavy blow to tourism during the slow summer months but a small price to pay for safety's sake. There is no curfew in effect and unless Frances moves south or due west soon, I doubt there will be. Time to get a little sleep. News starts at 7:30 am sharp! Good luck to all! Dave
Mon, 30 Aug 2004 06:45:34 -0300 - Frances watch
A hurricane watch has been issued for the Northern Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands as Hurricane Frances refuses to jog northwards. She even has the audacity, at this time, to plow DUE WEST! This does not bode well.
Great apathy has struck the populace here (it's been around awhile) as only a handful ever believed we would be affected by this system. Now that a watch has been issued, I would believe they would start their late preparations. It's too early for me to find out what the government is doing here but will give an update as soon as I can. Hopefully, the boaters can get their vessels secure but it's not that easy in so short a time.
Princess and Carnival cruise lines have cancelled their scheduled visits but no word yet on RCCL. It's early so more on Frances later. Have to go plug a few leaky areas!
Mon, 30 Aug 2004 06:17:30 -0400 - Hurricane Frances
August 27, 12:05PM EDT - Go north...!
I was hoping this storm would just be another non-event. But now it seems that it is very well possible that it will pass pretty close to the NE islands. The latest advisories show that it will still pass at a pretty safe distance in about 4 days (~200miles). But since these storms do have the potential to become 'big ones' and since there is always uncertainty in forecasting track and intensity we have to keep a close eye on this hurricane. Some models do forecast that it will turn more to the west in 48 hours (see this image from wunderground.com. Frances has slowed down somewhat, which usually means more strengthening. Let's just hope that is stays on this course and doesn't make the diversion westward in 2 days.
Tue, 24 Aug 2004 23:24:14 -0400 (AST) - TD#6
Good Evening! TD#6 has developed or, should I say evolved, far out in the Eastern Atlantic west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands and still far away from the Eastern Caribbean. Initial forecasts and computer models have this system turning towards the open Atlantic within the next 48-72 hours and be nothing of a threat to the Caribbean Islands or the US mainland. It has been proven though, that these Cape Verde storms don't alway's follow forecaster's predicted paths so, this system still needs to be monitored closely until it turns towards the northwest. No, this is not an alarmist's statement but a prudent one given the events of the last 10 years or so, i.e.... Hurricane Marilyn, Hurricane Bertha, Hurricane Lenny, and Hurricane Charley, just to name a few. Please, if you haven't formed and finalized your hurricane plans by now, do so promptly as the next couple of weeks look very active based upon the waves lined up to come off the coast of Africa! Again, not to get anyone in an uproar but the keyword here is to "BE PREPARED!" Dave
|- - - Earl - - -|
August 16, 11:55AM EDT - Gone...!
The good news today is that Earl has degenerated into a tropical wave. This can still bring 'squally' weather to the islands with periods of rain, but it won't be accompanied by tropical storm or hurricane force winds. Since it isn't a tropical cyclone anymore the National Hurricane Center doesn't issue their 120 hour forecast anymore. Using the 5AM one, the wave was expected to move well south of Jamaica (170 miles, in about 24 hours) and Cayman (190 miles). It was expected to cross land close to the Belize/Mexico border in about 3 days (60 miles north of Ambergris Caye, 115 miles south of Cozumel). Hopefully it won't regenerate into a tropical cyclone in the meantime.
August 15, 1:00AM EDT - Earl....
Tropical storm Earl will pass over the Windward Islands later today. Luckily it is just a tropical storm and not something like Charley. Tropical storm winds extend outward the center up to 85 miles. As it looks right now the center will pass about 55 miles south of Barbados in 12 hours (tropical storm winds can precede the storm by about 3½ hours). Then the center is expected to pass in between Grenada and St. Vincent (just 20 miles south of St.Vincent in 17 hours), but over the Grenadines (Mustique). Since it is moving pretty fast it shouldn't be a massive rainmaker, and with 'just' tropical storm winds it will probably ok.
|- - - Danielle - - -|
August 15, 0:55EDT - Gone!
Although Danielle has been upgraded to a hurricane, we can stop worrying about it since it curved to the north way before it reached the islands!
Fri, 13 Aug 2004 18:59:00 -0400 (AST) - TD#4 and TD#5
Good afternoon! Talk about a busy Friday the 13th in the tropics! Major hurricane Charley tears into South Florida on it's way for a quick visit with Mickey Mouse and this afternoon, we have two new depressions to worry about! We pretty much all theorized things would heat up quickly but not this quick! TD#4 and TD#5 both should be tropical storms by Saturday night. TD#5 is quite worrisome due to it's proximity to the islands but it did form really low, 8.9 north, and just might crash through the lower islands of Trinidad/Tobago, Barbados, Grenada and so on. But you never know, it could potentially turn more northwest so it's definitely something to watch carefully. TD#4 is an interesting system with a long ways to go so I'm not going to really comment on it at this time as more reseach is necessary. Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Florida. I myself have had almost a dozen relatives and friends evacuated. Dave
August 13, 12:20EDT - The first Cape Verde....
While Charley has left the Caribbean and is about to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane in Florida later today, we have a new system to watch. It is the first 'Cape Verde', the ones we fear the most as sometimes make landfall on one of the islands as a major hurricane... It is still over 2500 miles away from us, so there will be enough time to see where it is going. Often these storm pass north of the island so hopefully it will happen this time as well. Although, the extrapolated Closest Point of Approach brings the center of the storm just 21 miles to the north of Antigua in about 8 days... This of course is highly uncertain since it is impossible to forecast the track of a storm 8 days in advance... Let's just keep an eye on this one, and just hope that it will go a little more north...
|- - - Charley - - -|
August 17 - Charley: How to Help
The following I copied from the MAWS Mailing List:
"Charlie: How to Help" (Source: Various, 8/17/04) Emergency management officials recommend that those wishing to assist hurricane victims give cash donations and resist going to affected areas. Some charitable organizations recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency: American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, 800-HELP-NOW (800-435- 7669) or 800-257-7575 (Spanish), www.redcross.org. Catholic Charities, USA, 800-919-9338, www.catholiccharitiesusa.org. Salvation Army, 800-SAL-ARMY (800-725-2769), www.salvationarmyusa.org. United Methodist Committee on Relief, 800-554-8583, www.gbgm-umc.org. For a complete list of charitable agencies recommended by FEMA, see www.fema.gov/rrr/help2.shtm.
August 12, 12:05EDT - Getting stronger...
The 11AM advisory reports that the center of Charley is just 25 miles north of Grand Cayman. Despite maximum sustained winds near 90mph reports from the Caymans by the special hurricane correspondents don't indicate too many problems. Jamaica seemed to have fared pretty well too. Next is the western part of Cuba. I will try to get some reports from there. It is moving quite fast, and in 24 hours it is forecasted to be about 90 west of the Floriday Keys. Hopefully it doesn't get any closer then that, because if Charley doesn't weaken much when it passes over Cuba it might be a major hurricane by then. News from the islands by the special hurricane correspondents can be found above. Also, use the tools above to calculate how close (and when) the storm can get to your island (or any location when you know the latitude and longitude, which for US cities/zip codes can be found on the US Gazetteer website).
August 11, 17:00EDT - Hurricane Charley
Maximum sustained winds associated with Charley are now near 75 mph, that means that Charley is now a hurricane. Currently the center passing about 50 miles south of Jamaica, just without reach of hurricane force winds. Also it is forecasted that the storm will pass almost exactly between Grand Cayman and Little Cayman. Perfect! The CPA (Closest Point of Approach) for Grand Cayman is 47 miles (in 20 hours) and for Little Cayman 35 miles (in 17 hours). Although the CPA might be a bit closer for Grand Cayman since it is calculated as the distance from the airport which is on the western side of the island. Winds at that time are expected to be around 90mph, almost a Category 2 hurricane. Tropical storm winds extend outward to up to 115 miles, so at it's current speed of 17 mph, precede the center of the storm by about 6.5 hours. Hurricane force extend outward of the center to upto about 30 miles, just without reach of the Caymans. News from the islands by the special hurricane correspondents can be found above. Also, use the tools above to calculate how close (and when) the storm can get to your island.
August 11, 12:20EDT - Little better
The 11AM advisories show that Charley goes a little more south then earlier thought. This means that the center of Charley (with the highest winds) will not go straight over Jamaica, but will pass just south. For Cayman the situation is a little different now. It will now move closer to Grand Cayman (55 miles), but further from Cayman Brac (38 miles) and Little Cayman (20 miles). For Haiti the situation is much better, tropical storm warnings have been lifted.
Charley is still no hurricane, but with 70mph maximum sustained winds very close. It is not expected to become a major hurricane. News from the islands by the special hurricane correspondents can be found above. Also, use the tools above to calculate how close (and when) the storm can get to your island.
August 11, 0:55EDT - Jamaica...
Charley has strengthened a bit more. Maximum sustained winds are now near 65mph, still a tropical storm. The 11PM forecasts shows that the center of Charley will pass over Jamaica in about 16 hours (3PM Wednesday). Tropical storm winds extend to about 100 miles outward of the center, so at its current speed of 25 mph, expect tropical storm winds by 11AM. Charley might be close to hurricane strength at time of landfall in Jamaica as well. Since the storm is moving so fast, it will be over quick as well. There is relative short time to drop massive amounts of rain. Normally Jamaica should be perfectly fine to handle a weak hurricane. It will be windy, rainy, and wavey, but not disastrous.
After Jamaica its the Caymans... The closest point of approach of the center of Charley for Grand Cayman is 84 miles (39 hours), so they are pretty much ok. However, the cpoa for Cayman Brac just 9.5 miles (29.4 hours) and for Little Cayman 7.9 miles (in 30 hours). In 30 hours it should be a category 1 hurricane. Hurricane winds extend outward up to 30 miles at that time, so well within reach of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Tropical storm winds extend outward up to 135 miles (about 6 hours preceding the center of the storm), so Grand Cayman should expect tropical storm winds late Wednesday.
For updates from the islands by the special hurricane correspondents see above. Use to tools above to see how far the storm can get to your island....
August 10, 19:45EDT - Change in track...
The latest advisory (8PM) shows that things have changed since this morning. The forecasted track has significantly moved towards the east (right). Therefore it will move much closer to Jamaica then earlier thought. As it looks right now the center of the storm will be near Jamaica tomorrow morning. Also the winds might be higher then earlier thought. It might be close to hurricane strength once it reaches Jamaica. With the more eastward track tropical storm warnings have also been issued for the entire southwestern part of Haiti. A tropical storm warning is still in effect for Jamaica and tropical storm watch for the Caymans. Since it is moving so fast I won't be a big rain maker. More in 3 hours when the more detailed full advisories are issued.
August 10, 12:10EDT - Charley
Tropical depression three was upgraded to Tropical Storm Charley. It is moving fast towards the west-northwest. Although the system is still over 600 miles from Jamaica a tropical storm watch has been issued for the island. According to the 11AM advisories the center will pass around 90 miles south of Jamaica in about 30 hours. At that time winds are expected to be 55kt (63mph), still no hurricane (64kt/74mph). Next in its path are the Cayman Islands. The closest point of approach for Grand Cayman is just 30 miles in about 55 hours at which point maximum winds are expected to be close to hurricane strength. Of course there is a large uncertainty in these long range forecast, not only with regards to the track but also the intensity. Please use the tools above to calculate how far the system will be from your island. Also, see above for reports from the islands.
August 10, 1:05EDT - No Charley yet...
The center of the tropical depression passed 15 miles south of Grenada and is moving rather fast to the west-northwest. The center of the depression is expected to pass about 100 miles north of Curacao in 18 hours. Slow strengthening is expected, but it shouldn't cause to much inconvenience to the ABC islands. After that there is still quite a lot of uncertainty where it will go. As it looks right now it is heading for Jamaica where it will be in about 55 hours. At that time winds are expected to be around 50kt (60mph), still 'just' a tropical storm and not a hurricane. So it doesn't look too bad...
Mon, 09 Aug 2004 18:20:43 -0400 - TD#3
Tropical Depression #3 has finally been classified and should soon be named Tropical Storm Charley. The lower islands in the Winwards are getting copious amounts of rain along with some "good" thunder and lightning". The Northern Islands, from central Puerto Rico through St. Maarten shouldn't see much from this system other than some showers with a few rumbles and some very rough seas. The residents of US Virgin Islands have taken notice but most aren't given it it's due as it is too far south to scare them but at least former TD#2, now finally Tropical Storm Bonnie, and TD#3 have at least given them a small wake-up call. Speaking of Bonnie, on it's initial forecast track, it looks like the Carolina's are going to get fall-out from this system as well. Definitely, not needed, especially so soon after surprise major Hurricane Alex. Dave
August 9, 14:20EDT - Number Three
The third tropical depression formed just 50 miles southeast of Grenada. It is expected to become Tropical Storm Bonnie either tonight or tomorrow. For more info see the advisories for now.
|- - - Bonnie - - -|
August 9, 17:35EDT - Bonnie
What was left over of tropical depression number two has become better organized and become Tropical Storm Bonnie. It is now located in the Gluf of Mexico, not threathening any of the Caribbean Islands. Therefore it will not be discussed here, but you can still use the tools above to calculate how close it is or how close it can get.
August 4, 11:50EDT - Falling apart?
The tropical depression passed earlier this morning over St.Lucia. Luckily it didn't strengthen much since yesterday, and didn't develop in a tropical storm. Now it looks even better. There doesn't seem to be a closed circulation around a center anymore and it look more like a strong tropical wave at this time. However, there is a chance that this system will redevelop into a tropical storm. As it looks right now it will move over the Dominican Republic in about 36 hours. Hopefully it won't slow down, and won't cause a massive rain event like we had earlier this year (see below). Since tropical systems are unpredictable we still have to closely monitor this one, but it doesn't look too bad. See for more info the reports by the special hurricane correspondents above.
Tue, 3 Aug 2004 12:08:03 -0300 - TD#2
Activity has started to heat up in a fast way this early August with the advent of surprise Category 2 Hurricane Alex and now, TD#2, soon to be Tropical Storm Bonnie.
TD#2's initial forecast path depends on a large trough to the north developing far south and eroding a steering ridge which is keeping TD#2 on a mostly westerly course. It's intensity will ebb or flow with the strength of the shearing winds ahead of it in the central Caribbean.
At this point, it looks like it will be Tropical Storm Bonnie within the next 6 hours or so so all of the southern Windward Islands should monitor this system very closely as well as interests in the Northern Caribbean. As we all know, these storms are fickle and have been known to make unforeseen turns. Also, if it slows down, a significant rain event wil occur resulting in severe flooding. So, be prepared and if your not, do it now for you never really know until it's upon you!
August 3, 12:10EDT - Tropical Depression Two
Here we go... the first depression which could threathen the islands has formed. The center is located about 460 miles east of the Windward islands. It is moving fast to the east, which will inhibit fast strengthening. The current forecasted track takes it over Dominica in about 27 hours (see cpoa calculator). At that time it will probably be Tropical Storm Bonnie, but not Hurricane Bonnie. Most likely tropical storm warnings will be issued later today, but there is not too much to worry about with this storm. Let's use it to see if preparations are in place in case the 'big ones' come...
|- - - Alex - - -|
August 2, 11:50EDT - First One
After a quiet June and July, the first storm is here... Yesterday tropical storm Alex formed off the South Carolina coast. At this point of time the center is expected to stay off shore. Since this storm doesn't threathen any of the Caribbean islands or Bermuda it will not be further discussed here. Feel free of course to use the tools above to see how close the storm is to your location or how close can it get.
Mon, 19 Jul 2004 18:38:31 -0400 - Vigorous Wave
June 23, 2004 - Updated and improved climatology
I am happy to announce the new and improved climatology section... A little more work than anticipated, since I added over 650 webpages and 4500 images! You can find historical data for about all Caribbean islands and Bermuda (60 islands/locations!) over the last 153 years (1300+ storms). Every storm that passed by an island within 69 miles (60nm) is plotted and identified. The maximum wind is also noted and it is calculated how close the storm passed by (closest point of approach). In other sections you can find out exactly when the 'real peak' of hurricane season is for your island of interest and the probability of a hurricane passing by at a certain time (handy for planning vacations). Also, see how your island ranks in the list of 'Hits & Misses' and if it can claim the 'hurricane captital of the Caribbean' prize. And there is even more... Find it all in the climatology section.
Fri, 4 Jun 2004 23:43:16 -0400 (AST) - My, how time flies!
Hello to all Special Hurricane Correspondents and welcome to another year of forecasted above-average activity! The heart-felt best wishes and condolences of the US Virgin Island's population go out to the people of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. A large amount of relief supplies has already been collected and is on it's way. Hopefully, they will get the time to recover, rebuild, prepare, and re-nurture before the next, inevitable, rain event. Good luck and God Bless! Our prayers are with all! Tonight, we are experiencing a very weak tropical wave with plenty of cloud cover but limited shower activity. Yes, it's June and very, very early in the 2004 tropical season but it's never too early to prepare; so I implore everyone to prepare now to the best of their resources and not be a procrastinator like many of us are, including myself! Again, welcome back to another edition of "As the Hurricane Swirls" and may that "Swirl" be just a figment of Mother Nature's imagination! Dave
June 1, 2004 - Start of hurricane season
Today is the first day of Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November 30. Not that now all of a sudden storms appear from everywhere. Normally the peak of hurricane season is in late August/first half of September. Though it differs per region (see the weekly analyses). This is because hurricanes need warm water (typical a threshold is 28C/82F is used) for their energy and the ocean is not heating up everywhere at the same time. For example, the Gulf of Mexico will reach that threshold earlier then say the tropical Atlantic. See detailed analyses of past hurricanes in the Caribbean in the climatology section. I am currently updating it to include the last 4 years.
Although the forecasts indicate an above average season for hurricane activity, lets hope they will all stay out at sea and not make landfall on the islands or anywhere else. This year's names:
NAME PRONUNCIATION NAME PRONUNCIATION ------------------------------------------------------------- ALEX LISA LEE-SA BONNIE MATTHEW CHARLEY NICOLE NI-COLE DANIELLE DAN-YELL OTTO EARL PAULA FRANCES RICHARD RICH-ERD GASTON SHARY SHA-REE HERMINE HER-MEEN TOMAS TO-MAS IVAN EYE-VAN VIRGINIE VIR-JIN-EE JEANNE JEEN WALTER KARL
May 28, 2004 - Help needed...
As you know it's not going too well in Haiti and Dominican Republic after the tropical wave passed over. More then 2,000 (!) people have been killed. Your help is needed! Donations can be made at for example the Red Cross and U.N. World Food Programme. News stories: Yahoo and Google News. Also see the reports by our special hurricane correspondents above.
Also an update on Dr. Gray's Hurricane Forecast was issued today. It is similar to the April one: 14 tropical storms, of these 8 will reach hurricane strength and 3 will be 'big ones'. We will see what happens. Best to be prepared.
May 27, 2004 - Don't believe the predictions?
Before last year the National Hurricane Center only issued forecasts over a 3 day range. Then last year the started the long-term, five day forecasts. For some storms the predictions were right on, others were not behaving so well. Read this interesting article in the Miami Herald on what the experts think about their own forecasts...
May 26, 2004 - Hispaniola
The season hasn't started yet, and once again we see that we don't need a big hurricane to cause a lot of problems. The tropical wave that moved over the Caribbean last week has caused great havoc in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The rains has caused rivers to burst out of their banks and generated many mudslides. The latest reports indicated that now 500 people have been killed in those floods... It shows again that not the wind but the torrential rains associated with tropical systems are mostly the problem. Look for some local reports from the island above.
May 23, 2004 - One more week...
June 1, the official start of hurricane season, is almost here! Several forecasts indicate an above average season. NOAA's outlook shows 12-15 named tropical storms (normal is about 10), with 6-8 becoming hurricanes (normal is 6). Of these 2-4 might become major hurricanes (cat. 3 and up, climatological average is 2.5). See detailed outlook
The well respected forecast by Dr. Gray and his team at Colorado State University also indicate an above average season. Their last issued forecast dated April 2 (there usually have an update at the beginning of the season) show 14 named storms, of which 8 hurricane. Of these 3 are expected to become major hurricanes. So very similar to the NOAA outlook. (see there full forecast here.)
Keep in mind that it doesn't matter much what the forecasters say of 2004 season, you only need one big one in your backyard to have a bad season. Chances of that happening are really quite small. Keep in mind that the islands can cope very well with tropical storms and hurricanes. Only the landfalling major ones (and esp. Category 4 and 5) will cause a lot of damage. With other landfalling storms the island is usually back to normal in no time. Also remember, that the wind is often not the biggest problem, but the flooding and mudslides caused by the torrential rains associated with hurricanes. The slower a storm moves the more time it has to dump rain on the island. This is especially a problem in hilly/mountainous areas. Just be prepared...
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